Apple Invents a Way for Service Technicians to replace an iPhone or MacBook Battery safely and securely
Apple has invented an apparatus that will make it easy for Apple's service team to replace an iPhone or MacBook battery quickly yet securely. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Battery Removal Apparatus," which covers various methods for removing a device battery. The good news is that it may allow technicians to save an iPhone out of warranty by replacing a battery rather than having to purchase a new costly iPhone. So while Apple isn't giving users direct access to the battery, it's the next best thing.
Apple's Patent Background
Manufacturers continually strive to enhance the physical qualities of portable computing devices so as to provide an excellent user experience and keep an edge on their competitors. Notably, the widths and lengths of most portable computing devices--such as smart phones and laptops--have recently remained somewhat constant, since users require a threshold amount of surface area to comfortably interact with (e.g., user interfaces displayed on smart phones or physical keyboards of laptops). Other physical qualities of portable computing devices, however--including thickness (i.e., height) and weight--can continue to be reduced to provide an increase in overall user satisfaction. As a result, manufacturers are focused on developing new materials and designs that reduce the overall height and/or weight of portable computing devices.
Presently, there are several factors that limit the potential reduction of height that can be applied to a portable computing device, e.g., a smart phone. In many cases, the most limiting factor is the battery included in the smart phone, which remains somewhat large with respect to the overall volume of the smart phone. Notably, the battery must be secured within the smart phone such that the battery remains in place in the event of a fall and does not damage other electronics included within the smart phone. One popular battery-securing technique involves applying a relatively thick adhesive layer to the battery, but this limits potential for reductions in height and can make it difficult to remove the battery for replacement or servicing. Moreover, while measures to simply thin the adhesive layer would result in increased potential for height reduction, such measures would also compromise the stability of the battery within the portable computing device, which is unacceptable.
Invention: Battery Removal Apparatus
Apple's patent generally relates to battery removal apparatuses to be used within portable computing devices. In particular, the battery removal apparatuses described herein enable a battery to be securely installed into a portable computing device while also enabling the battery to be easily removed from the portable computing device when servicing or replacement is required. Notably, the battery removal apparatuses described herein also provide increased potential for height reduction compared to conventional approaches without compromising the overall secureness of the battery within the portable computing device.
In a first embodiment, a component extractor used for extracting a component secured to an interior surface of an enclosure by an adhesive layer is disclosed. The component extractor includes a body, where at least a portion of the body is disposed within the adhesive layer. The component extractor also includes a flexible member coupled to the body at a reinforced first end and having a second end opposite the first end, where the second end is configured to receive an externally applied extraction force. In particular, during a component extraction operation, the externally applied extraction force is received at the second end at an angle with respect to the component. At least some of the extraction force is transferred from the second end through the reinforced first end to the body such that the extraction force at least partially reduces an adhesive bond formed between the component and the interior surface by the adhesive layer.
A Pull Tab Style Battery Removal Apparatus
In another embodiment, a pull tab battery removal apparatus for removing a battery from a portable computing device is disclosed. The pull tab battery removal apparatus comprises a pull tab configured to be disposed between a battery and a casing of the portable computing device, where the pull tab is reinforced at least at a graspable portion of the pull tab that protrudes out from between the battery and the casing. The pull tab is shaped such that at least one area of the battery and the casing are exposed to one another when the battery, the pull tab and the casing are compressed together. The at least one exposed area between the battery an the casing is occupied by an adhesive layer that adheres the battery to the casing when the battery, the pull tab, and the casing are compressed together.
A Pull String Style Battery Removal Apparatus
In yet another embodiment, a pull string battery removal apparatus for removing a battery from a portable computing device is disclosed. The pull string battery removal apparatus comprises an adhesive layer that includes a seam defined by first layer and a second layer, where the first layer is configured to adhere to a battery and the second layer is configured to adhere to a casing of the portable computing device. The pull string battery removal apparatus further comprises a pull string that is routed through the seam according to a particular path such that, when a first end of the pull string that protrudes out from the adhesive layer is pulled on, the pull string cuts through the adhesive layer and causes the seam to fully or partially separate from one another so that the battery can be removed from the casing.
Apple credits Gregory Stephens, David Pakula and Ashutosh Shukla as the inventors of patent application 20140355207 which was originally filed in Q2 2013. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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